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Blade Runner, a self-contained masterpiece, will now become a franchise, which seems like a terrible idea.

There’s been talk of a sequel for years, but now Sony pictures is going forward with the idea. Production begins in July and will re-unite Harrison Ford with one of the original screenwriters of the 1982 classic, Hampton Fancher. Ridley Scott, the original director, is notably absent; the new film will be directed by Denis Villenueve. 

Blade Runner was never an open-ended franchise like Star Wars or Star Trek, with recurring characters and a large universe to investigate. Instead, it was very much a stand-alone story, not just in terms of its plot but also in its main theme: the need to accept finitude and death. 

In one of the most memorable scenes in Blade Runner, Dr. Eldon Tyrell tries to convince the replicant he created of this necessity. “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long,” Tyrell says. “And you have burned so very, very bright. ... Revel in your time.”

The original Blade Runner burned very brightly because it, too, had a sense of closure. Now it’s becoming just another franchise, with a longer life but likely a much duller sheen.